12th May 2013

A Heavenly Gift

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:6-7 (NIV UK)

The apostle Paul goes on: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith….” He adds, “and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (verses 8-9).

During times of doubt or personal struggle with sin, it is comforting and reassuring to know that our salvation is not based on us, on how well we behave or how strong our faith is. Our salvation is solely of God, by God and through God from beginning to end. When Paul writes “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith,” he doesn’t mean the reverse, that it is by faith we are saved, through grace. Faith doesn’t save us, God does. And he does it by his grace, because He is gracious.

Salvation isn’t something that can be earned. God gives it to us freely. Our part is simply to trust God who forgives us even though we don’t deserve it. That’s what faith is—trusting God to love us and save us in spite of ourselves. Faith is not a work which determines whether or not God will save us. God has already done that in Jesus.

Notice how Paul explains it:  “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”  David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (Romans 4:4-8).

Faith does not cause God to save us. Faith simply involves trusting God and embracing the salvation that God has already, by his grace, made real for us in Jesus. Faith doesn’t cause salvation, or in any way bring about salvation. Faith only allows us to receive and see what is already true in Christ.

“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him,” David said. That person is you. And your heavenly Father has made it so by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer
Gracious Father, how reassuring to understand that your grace and faithfulness doesn’t rely on us. We have, of course, our part to play, but this follows your graciousness. We give you thanks for your goodness, your love and your mercy toward us. And this we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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 joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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